Looking back with grace and gratitude

I don’t look back a lot in life or in business, preferring to celebrate my successes or suffer my failures quickly, accepting that the accompanying cheers or jeers of the audience are as fragile and temporary as my own response.

Conversely, I’ve always considered the last working day before the Christmas holiday to be an opportunity to pause, reflect on the year just gone and consider any lessons learned.

Some of my stand-out moments from the year were:

  • a trip to Vienna with my two daughters
  • presenting a 2-day workshop in Pune, India with Manish Chitnis and the wonderful members of Dental Concepts India
  • a lovely weekend in Center Parcs with best friends Phil, Shaenna, Mark & Jo (and their children)
  • PechaKucha at The Dentistry Show
  • The Practice Plan Club Weekend (in spite of my self-inflicted injuries)
  • 2 amazing weekends in the Kielder Forest with my 7 Explorers co-founders Sandy & Tino and our Oman 2017 guests
  • a spectacular track day at Oulton Park with Colin Lawson
  • Mike Fletcher’s stag do at Kendal Calling and his wedding in York
  • a day walking in The Lake District with Mash Seriki from Healthcare Learning
  • Speaking on the Planmeca stand at the Showcase
  • running with Ben Smith and a Henry Schein team on Ben’s 401 challenge
  • completing marathon #25 during a lovely weekend with Marcus & Louise Spry in Dublin
  • a fabulous cottage holiday on the Northumberland coast
  • all those who have visited and stayed over with us at the Barrow/Bradley residence and have had the courage to join in with our Saturday night kitchen parties
  • being interviewed by notable bloggers and podcasters like Gary Takacs, Howard Farran, Nicola Cairncross and Judith Morgan
  • getting published – anywhere
  • the applause of an appreciative audience at the end of a presentation
  • a private word or note of thanks or encouragement from someone that I have helped

There may be some events and people I have missed but you are still there in my heart.

All of the above are, of course, special occasions – I’m sure you also have a list (can I suggest you spend a few moments looking back through your calendar and reliving the feelings you experienced during these times of pleasure).

One has to add, though, the daily toil to which we are all dedicated, whether it is travelling to visit dental practices or caring for patients.

Many is the time I’ve quoted Tom Morris’s book “True Success”, defined as “loving what you do, loving when you do it and loving the people you do it with”.

In September I amicably and happily returned to my sole-trader status again, re-launching Coach Barrow as a brand.

I do want to take this opportunity to thank the people who have made that a success that has exceeded my expectations in the first 4 months:

  • Phillippa Goodwin for being the world’s best virtual PA – “no problem, leave it with me, I’ll get it sorted.”
  • Kimberley Black for her IT wisdom and unflinching loyalty – my sister from a different mother
  • Doug Murphy for his sage accountancy advice – “you can’t do that CB” (and Steve Thompson for doing the work)
  • The team at Dental Focus for agreeing to build a web site that broke all the rules
  • The clients who hire me, listen to me, accept most of what I say, reject some and then apply themselves to evolving their businesses, their teams and themselves – thus bringing me a living and joy at seeing their progress
  • In addition to (and including) the above, the friends who have the patience to listen and the courage to tell me the truth about myself – you know who you are and I’m blessed to know you
  • Jon, Alex, Josh, Rachel and Ellie Barrow for allowing me to be who I am without judgement
  • The lady I live with and who also accepts me for who I am. Thank you Annie.

Finally, thank you to those around the world who read this blog and comment either digitally or face to face – coaching, speaking and writing can be a lonely business and it makes a huge difference when the constructive feedback arrives. Keep it coming.

I’ve always been such a lucky guy – and 2016 was no exception.

May I wish you a very happy Christmas – enjoy the break and here’s to 2017 and all the highlights it will bring.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.